The Pope has issued some tough love-style parenting advice for frustrated, but “overprotective” mothers with adult sons who simply won’t “leave the nest”.
Pope Francis told Catholic mothers during a Mass service to mark the end of the 10th World Meeting of Families that they should stop ironing their son’s shirts and encourage them to go and get married.
He also urged adult men not to “take the easy road” and return to their mothers in “moments of difficulty”.
The 85-year-old head of the Catholic Church, who has never been married and has no children, said: “We see so many young men who don’t have the courage to get married and mothers often say to me, ‘Do something, speak to my son, who is not getting married and is 37-years-old’.
“But Signora, don’t iron his shirts, make the first move by sending him out, let him leave the nest.”
At the service, which took place at the Vatican in Rome over the weekend, the Pope said that familial love “is not possessive, it’s for freedom always”.
“And then, in the moments of difficulty, in crises – all families have them – please don’t take the easy road: ‘I’m going back to Mum’,” he added, addressing adult men.
“No, move ahead with this courageous gamble. There will be difficult moments, hard moments, but move ahead, always.”
As the US Supreme Court overturned constitutional protections for abortion last week, the Pope also used his platform to condemn “selfish” decisions that “thwart the desire to bring new lives in the world”.
Although he did not explicitly mention abortion or the ruling in his homily, the Pope said: “Let us not allow the family to be poisoned by the toxins of selfishness, individualism, today’s culture of indifference and waste, and as a result lose its very DNA, which is the spirit of welcoming and service.”
The Pope has consistently opposed abortion, previously equating the life-saving procedure as “hiring a hitman to solve a problem”.